Skullcandy headphones are overrated
Timekettle M2 in the test: "Dear guests and rice noodle friends ..."
The Timekettle M2 look like another AirPod clone from China. But the small earplugs can do a lot more than Apple's true wireless headphones. They not only play music, but also translate 40 languages directly in your ear if you wish. The test clarifies how well this works.
Timekettle M2 in the test
Not perfect, but a nice gadget for frequent flyers
Technology enthusiasts who like to travel and chat with locals should really enjoy the TimeKettle M2. Even if the translator is far from perfect, he does a good job. In addition, the headphones for early birds on IndieGogo don't cost much more than competing products without real-time translators. The Travis Touch pocket translator is an alternative.
We liked that
- Splash protection
- 40 languages can be translated
We didn't like that
- moderate sound
- App still unstable
- That's how good the translation is
- Design and workmanship
- Price and availability
True wireless headphones are all the rage. The small earplugs are light and hardly noticeable in the ear. But why use the "things" only for music playback and phone calls? There is even more, thought the Chinese manufacturer Timekettle and has integrated a real-time translator into the headphones called M2 and is now looking for supporters for the project on IndieGogo. The idea is not entirely new, with the WT2 Plus Timekettle launched a real-time translator in headphone form on the market as early as 2019, but it could not be used for music playback.
The reason: The Timekettle WT2 Plus is based on a special Bluetooth chip that was previously used for voice control in remote controls and therefore did not support music playback. The Timekettle M2 now has a Qualcomm TWS chip that is also found in other true wireless headphones. So you can not only listen to music through the headphones, but also make phone calls. If the WT2 Plus was intended more for use in a business environment, the Timekettle M2 is aimed at end users.
Like the WT2 Plus, the M2 should also be able to translate a total of 40 different languages and 93 dialects. There are three modes available for this:
- In the so-called "touch mode", each person you talk to has headphones in their ears. Whoever wants to speak, touches the headphones and speaks. As soon as you have finished your monologue, what has been said is translated in both headphones. Then the other user can answer.
- In "Lesson Mode", the headphones record what is said via the microphone of the smartphone and then translate it into your ear. This should work in quiet surroundings even at a distance of up to 5 meters from the speaker, explains Timekettle.
- In "Speaker Mode" you speak and the headphones record your voice. What you said is then played back over the smartphone speakers. Other users can reply using the smartphone's microphone.
That's how good the translation is
The idea sounds great, but how well does the TimeKettle M2 work in practice? In the test, we had the headphones translated into Russian, Spanish, French, English and Chinese. The results were mixed. In general, it can be said that the headphones provide a usable translation for short dialogues - even if this is perhaps not one hundred percent correct. For example, we watched a Xiaomi press conference in Chinese via YouTube with the M2 in our ears. According to Timekettle, the CEO began this with the words "Dear guests and rice noodle friends ...". Despite such blunders, the translation is usually sufficient to understand what is required or required in a situation. The translation also takes place without a long wait a few seconds after the other person has finished speaking.
The translator quickly reaches his limits in lengthy dialogues or even lectures. Because the Timekettle M2 can only record and translate sentences with a length of up to one minute. If someone speaks longer or without a long break, the headphones only translate fragments. This can be remedied by reducing the time that the real-time translator identifies as a pause between two sentences in the settings. We also identified differences between the languages. In our opinion, the headphones translate English and Chinese quite well, if not perfectly. The Timekettle headphones, however, had their problems with the other languages. These may be related to the translation process.
According to Timekettle, five different online translators are used for the translation, one of which is Google Translate. Not all translate the languages directly, some take a detour and translate what has been said first into English and from there on. As a result, of course, the quality suffers. Furthermore, according to Timekettle, the quality of the translation is of course influenced by the pronunciation. The clearer someone speaks, the better the translation. Other factors that influence the result are, for example, ambient noise or the use of colloquial language.
According to Timekettle, the translation is done online, so your phone needs an active data connection at all times. There will also be an offline mode, but this was not yet available at the time of the test. It should also only offer rudimentary functions. Given the required internet connection, the question naturally arises as to how much data volume the translation process consumes, and this is surprisingly little. According to the manufacturer, a gigabyte of data should be enough to translate dialogues with the Timekettle M2 for a month. We will provide further impressions on this, in the preliminary test we limited ourselves to use in the WLAN.
And how good are the true wireless headphones in everyday life? You shouldn't expect a high-quality sound. The sound of the Timekettle earplugs is rather thin and middle-heavy. Audiophile users with high demands will not be satisfied with this, but for the average consumer who wants to be showered with some music on the go, this should be sufficient.
Design and workmanship
In contrast, the headphones make a pleasingly high-quality impression. They also sit comfortably in the ear. Unlike the WT2 Plus, there is no longer any possibility of adapting the plugs to your own ear shape using attachments. According to Timekettle, the case was designed in such a way that it fits into the majority of the ears, and secondly, cleaning the case without attachments is much easier.
Bluetooth in-ear headphones in comparison: 10 top models of 2020
An advantage that should not be underestimated, after all, you have to lend at least one pair of headphones more often if you want to talk to someone in touch mode. The headphones are currently only available in "white". It remains to be seen whether other colors are planned.
The setup is also a bit cumbersome, as the headphones first have to be paired in the settings of the mobile phone and then again in the TimeKettle app. The pairing in the settings is used to play music or to play back the sound when making calls. The pairing in the app, on the other hand, is purely for the translator.
Timekettle M2 in pictures
Images of the product Timekettle M2
In the test, the app struggled with many problems and crashed more often. We don't want to overstate this, however, as development is still ongoing. Some functions, such as the "speaker mode" or the "offline mode", were not yet available at the time of the test and will only be available at a later date.
Price and availability
The Timekettle wants to finance the M2 again via crowdfunding. The campaign started on June 9th at 7 p.m. German time on IndieGogo. For as little as 69 US dollars you can support the project and get these unusual true wireless headphones. However, the offer is only valid at the start of the campaign. Later, the price of the true wireless headphones with translation function climbs to $ 119.
In addition to the headphones, the scope of delivery also includes a charging case. This charges the earplugs wirelessly, but has to be charged via USB C itself. A full charging process takes 90 minutes, the battery life of the headphones should be up to 30 hours, depending on the intended use. It is unlikely that the campaign will fail. Timekettle collected $ 276,869 on Kickstarter for the production of the WT2 Plus.
Don't you agree? Are you looking for suitable alternatives? We have an extensive list of Timekettle M2 alternatives for you in our headphone overview.
Timekettle M2: data sheet
Here you can find the technical data for Timekettle M2. You can easily compare size, weight and other properties with other products.
|Weight||6 grams each|
|Design||In-Ear (True Wireless)|
|Operation on the headphones||✔ Yes|
|Wired remote control||✘ No.|
|Battery life||30 hours|
|Charging case||✔ Yes|
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